The Sub-Saharan African Youth Refugees Teach-In took place on Saturday, April 23 in Malone 112 to emphasize awareness, action and activism for helping children in Africa who face unfortunate circumstances.
The two-hour teach-in was sponsored by Amina Humphrey, visiting assistant professor of African American studies, and included presentations from guest speaker and congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and LMU senior African American studies major Anna Eme.
While Humphrey inspired many to enforce efforts of intervention, Eme discussed the importance of bringing awareness to the realities of these refugees and avoiding the resistance that comes along with it. Between each presentation, students were able to engage in a Q&A session with each presenter to get a better understanding about what LMU students can learn to help make a difference for refugees in other countries.
Eme shared her experiences of visiting Morocco and how she thinks LMU can help African youth refugees in their fight for survival.
“Being black in Morocco and representing LMU, I didn’t get the same introduction as others. They looked at me and wondered where I was from,” Eme said. “There’s no one-step solution to any of these problems. This is stressed to not be a one-moment thing. Learning and speaking about this should be enough to not let this [problem] pass.”
After Eme’s presentation, Humphrey talked about how she’s reached out to contact these refugees and what she plans to do in the future to help take action.
Attendants of the event consisted of LMU students, high school students from surrounding areas, community members and people who have previously worked with Humphrey.
“I take one of Dr. Humphrey’s African American studies classes, and you can tell that she truly loves what she does through her teaching,” said freshman communication studies major Willow Wittliff. “I’m not surprised that she goes to such great lengths for something she’s so passionate about, and I fully support her in her efforts to help such an important cause.”
Towards the end of the teach-in, Humphrey welcomed Bass to speak about her past accomplishments in accordance with African refugees, including her U.S. - Africa Policy, which promotes the communication and engagement between Africa and the U.S., and enforcement of the African Growth and Opportunities Act, a trade preference program with eligible African nations.
“You might feel powerless, but you have a lot of power. It’s important to reach out to Congress — it makes me feel like you guys have my back; it gives me the power to say that I’m doing this in response to my constituents,” said Bass.
At the conclusion of the event, participants were encouraged to write on posters hung along the walls of Malone regarding what they plan to act on for these refugees. Some responses included “Inform family and friends,” “Spread awareness through social media and word of mouth” and “Contact congressmembers.”